MANILA, Philippines - The brother of slain hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza was arraigned Thursday before the Manila Regional Trial Court on charges of disobedience for crossing a police line during the August 23 hostage crisis.
Footage taken during the hostage incident showed SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, an officer of the Manila Police District traffic bureau, approaching the Hong Thai Travel bus where his brother, Rolando, was holding hostage 25 people.
Mendoza was in plainclothes and carrying a gun when he was stopped by police from approaching the bus. He later explained that he only wanted to talk to his brother and even offered to help in the negotiations.
At one point during the hostage incident, Mendoza accompanied negotiators Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador in handing over the Ombudsman's letter to the hostage-taker. The negotiators, however, blamed Mendoza for inciting his brother to lose his temper when he revealed that his firearm was confiscated by police.
Mendoza's televised arrest was believed to have incited the hostage-taker to shoot at his Chinese hostages. The 12-hour hostage crisis at the Quirino Grandstand ended in tragedy with the hostage-taker and 8 of his hostages dead.
The chief of the Manila Police inquest division earlier said Mendoza could be charged with serious disobedience, which is penalized under Article 151, when he entered the crime scene in civilian clothes and carried a loaded 9- mm Beretta pistol.
The Public Attorney's Office, however, said the disobedience charge has no basis since the negotiators tapped Mendoza to assist in the negotiations. PAO chief Persida Acosta has filed a motion to quash the disobedience case.
Mendoza is also questioning an Ombudsman order for his suspension, which was handed down after the August 23 hostage crisis. He said the Ombudsman order could have been antedated to harass him.
Mendoza also defended "Rose", the mystery woman who brought the hostage-taker from Tanauan, Batangas to Manila on the day of the hostage-taking. He said Rose is known in Tanauan because of her business.
He reiterated her claim that she did not know of Mendoza's plan.